A Word From the Federal Nursing Service Council

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Today, Rear Adm. Carol A. Romano, chief nurse officer for the U.S. Public Health Service and chair of the Federal Nursing Service Council, writes about her recent meeting with Dr. Casscells to discuss research, health care delivery and humanitarian relief.


I had the opportunity to meet last week with Dr. Casscells, along with other members of the Federal Nursing Service Council (FNSC), to hear his thoughts about research in health care, challenges in federal health care delivery and concerns about humanitarian relief efforts.


The Federal Nursing Service Council is comprised of the Chief Nurse Officers of Army, Navy, Air Force, Public Health Service, Veterans Affairs and the American Red Cross. Organized in 1943, the FNSC brings together the collective leadership and experiences to strengthen and advance the practice of nursing and the care for beneficiaries among federal agencies and the Red Cross. The FNSC represents over 125,000 nurses and more than 8.5 million beneficiaries. In addition, we work closely with the Dean of the Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). As the Chief Nurse Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, I have the privilege to serve as the chair for this group this year.


The Nursing Chiefs were encouraged to hear that the assistant secretary of defense for Health Affairs values the importance of nursing and nursing leadership in both maintaining the health of our workforce and their families, and in revitalizing the delivery systems of care. The need for a greater emphasis on psychological health and holistic care of patients and their families was strongly echoed by Dr. Casscells, especially during these times of combat stress and natural disasters, where families and caregivers also need assistance. The Federal Nursing Chiefs concurred that more research in this area is needed. The use of evidence-based practice and the latest science will help elevate the quality of our care and services.


Our meeting also focused on the leadership role that nurses play in collaborating with others to make our delivery systems more patient-driven, and more patient/consumer-controlled. Dr. Casscells was enthusiastic about his vision for healthy environments of care that are focused on consistent quality, high patient and provider satisfaction, and strong clinical competence where the patient is empowered to make decisions. Models of excellence consistent with creating “magnet” facilities that attract consumers were discussed and I was pleased to hear the Pentagon’s commitment to quality improvement. Dr. Casscells was supportive of the Nurse Corps exploring magnet accreditation status to create new cultures of caring and collaboration in our facilities.


I look forward to our continued work with the Pentagon and Health Affairs. Dr. Casscells acknowledged that the partnerships we have with military health, public health, Veterans Affairs the Red Cross and USU help us to share ideas and best practices and create healthy futures for us all. The Federal Chief Nurses applaud Dr Casscells leadership and anticipate his joining the Nurse Corps at our AMSUS meeting this year in San Antonio.


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